Three Ways The Andy Griffith Show Taught Me How Not to Be a Dad

I was up but everyone else was in bed this Saturday morning and, to kill time, I wound up watching some re-runs of The Andy Griffith Show. While Andy Taylor (Griffith) is arguably one of the best TV dads off all time, I realized he does have some bad parenting habits that, as a dad myself, I would be reluctant to imitate.

Here are the three big ones:

Taking parent advice from non-parents. Specifically, he seems to value advice from his unmarried and childless deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts). Not only does Barney have zero first-hand experience raising a child, he has never even proven to be wise about everyday things in general. He'd the last person I'd ask advice from, especially when it came to any of my children.

Letting his son wander alone and talk to strangers. OK, so obviously this show takes place in a different era when that probably wasn't as frowned upon as it is today. And, to be fair, Mayberry was mostly crime free, other than maybe the way people sometimes mysteriously disappeared and were never spoken of again. Still, when I watch Opie (Ron Howard) talking to someone like Mr. McBeevee (Karl Swensen), I see a very scary situation that, had it been an episode of Law & Order: SVU, would likely have ended tragically.

Purposely exposing his child to bad people. Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) once criticized him for letting Opie hang around the jail, only to back down. She wasn't wrong. If Opie grew up around the town drunk and various other criminals and didn't turn out with some serious issues, that was pure luck. Heck, even today, I'm not convinced Opie and his secret gang didn't commit arson.


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